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Youth meet to discuss ways of fighting HIV/AIDS
Friday 25 March 2005
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AFRICA: Youth meet to discuss ways of fighting HIV/AIDS

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

KIGALI, 15 March (PLUSNEWS) - An Africa-wide youth organisation is holding a five-day conference in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, to draw up a plan of action for the continent's youth to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS.

"Our mission is to initiate, consolidate and strengthen the capacity and response of African youth to effectively confront HIV/AIDS," Michael Karangwa, executive secretary of the Pan-African Youth Organisation Against HIV/AIDS (PAYA), said when the conference opened on Monday.

Participants from at least 20 African nations are taking part in the conference, which hopes to rally support for its programmes from key donors.

PAYA is also due to launch its secretariat, which will be based in Kigali.

"The event is a cornerstone for PAYA, as it will adopt its working strategic plan, its manual of operations - update its constitution and internal rules and regulations," Karangwa said, "as well as streamlining the organisational framework and its priority areas of interventions."

He added that PAYA's mandate was to highlight the importance of youth in the fight against HIV in Africa. This could be done by identifying factors that make young people more vulnerable to the epidemic, and ensuring that these issues are integrated into the policies and programmes of nations.

This week's conference will also advocate support from the African Union, the UN and regional economic bodies, as well as established youth and development partners.

PAYA was launched in June 2003, to provide a forum for African youths to exchange experiences and ideas in their struggle against HIV/AIDS.


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